California lawmakers dropped SB 871, a bill that would have required K-12 students to receive the COVID-19 jabs to attend school in person.
While parents must remain vigilant, it’s a victory for medical freedom in authoritarian California.
The legislation would have only allowed rare medical exemptions from a doctor.
This is a stunningly quick turnaround: In the space of a few hours, both student vaccine mandates considered by state officials were either tabled or postponed.
— Emily Hoeven (@emily_hoeven) April 15, 2022
This bill would have also removed the personal belief exemption allowed by @GavinNewsom's executive order requiring kids to get vaccinated the semester after the FDA fully approves the COVID vaccine for their age group.
— Emily Hoeven (@emily_hoeven) April 14, 2022
There it is. We have defeated SB 871, the student vaccine mandate.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) April 14, 2022
Sen Pan announced he will HOLD SB871 which would have required C19 V* for all CA K-12 students and done away w/ PBE.
Together our opposition to this bill worked! May 24 our lawsuit against 2 LA schools that kicked unV* kids out will be heard. This highlights their injustice pic.twitter.com/5DNLfoA76X
— LET THEM BREATHE (@letthem_breathe) April 14, 2022
As the Los Angeles Times noted, the state will continue its current COVID-19 jab mandate that allows personal belief exemptions.
Without the bill, the state will continue with a less strict COVID-19 vaccine mandate authorized last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom, allowing parents to opt their children out based on personal beliefs.
The Democratic lawmaker introduced SB 871 in January, saying it would ensure schools can stay open while offering backup to districts such as L.A. Unified that have struggled with their own mandates. The bill, however, faced familiar backlash from anti-vaccine activists and parents who said the state should not make medical decisions for their children.
Pan said the state needs to focus on increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring families have accurate information about the benefits of inoculation.
“Until children’s access to COVID vaccination is greatly improved, I believe that a statewide policy to require COVID vaccination in schools is not the immediate priority, although it is an appropriate safety policy for many school districts in communities with good vaccine access,” Pan said.
The Sacramento Bee added:
Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2021 required all students to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting during the school term after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval to shots for their age range.
Newsom’s order allows students to opt-out of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement with a personal belief exemption. SB 871 would have prevented students from using that exemption to get out of the requirement.
The bill would have added the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of shots the California Department of Public Health requires for school attendance. Current laws require Public Health to allow personal belief exemptions for new vaccines they add to the list.
SB 871 would have eliminated that rule for “any additional immunization requirements deemed appropriate by the department.”
According to the California Department of Public Health, 33.9% of children 5 to 11 years old are vaccinated; the rate is double (66.4%) for older children ages 12-17.
In related news, the Washington state Board of Health voted against requiring the COVID-19 shots for K-12 students.